As the last remaining snow piles melt and we prepare to welcome the Easter bunny this weekend, another milestone reminds us the seasons are a-changin’ — the Lampost reopened on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs.
In keeping with annual tradition, the doors of the beloved bar opened Wednesday, April 1, but the kickoff party takes place this Friday, April 3, with the band that helped them shut their doors back in November — Crooked Coast. The Cape Cod–based band will help get the new season started along with DJ Black Bluto on Friday night.
The boys of Crooked Coast are no strangers to the Lampost, or the seasonal music scene on the Island. Back in November, Crooked Coast played the Lampost’s end-of-the-year party along with Electric Pie, and have played various other shows and music festivals on the Island over the past several years, including the Chill Billy Revue and Martha’s Vineyard Fashion Week in 2013, along with sets at Dreamland and others.
This year they’ll be keeping the audience on their feet every other Thursday night at the Lampost starting Memorial Day weekend, along with performing shows at the Port Hunter and other popular Island venues. We caught up with band member Luke Vose in anticipation of their return to the Island.
Luke describes the band as “indie power pop,” a high-energy sound with infectious hooks, sweaty dancefloor rhythms, big guitars, and wordplay both gut-wrenching and wry. They count the Strokes as a big musical influence, along with the sounds of reggae, old school, hip-hop, punk rock, and old country.
“We use a lot of pop hooks. We cut our teeth at places where people just want to dance but they might not know your band.” Given that they’re often in front of a new audience, or tourists for the first time, they’ll pepper their sets with cover songs to keep the crowd engaged, from the likes of Sublime, the Clash or Kid Cutty.
“Being on the Cape and the Islands in the summer is a lot like touring, but we don’t have to go too far,” Luke said of the resort towns they play. And they always make sure they keep up with current music and the “anthems of the summer,” but “we’ll play them, but we put our fingerprints on them,” said Luke.
The band plays New York a couple of times a year, and the greater New England, tri-state area. “We go out on 3- to 5-day tours in the winter, as far as Maine, Vermont, D.C., and Philly,” said Luke. They’ve even brought their sounds as far as the Virgin Islands.
Crooked Coast was formed in the summer of 2012 by Cape Cod natives Luke Vose, John McNamara, Ben Elder, and Charles Walton. Charles and Luke had previously played in a band together, and Ben and John too. “We would go to each other’s shows, out of a mutual respect for one another’s music, and when needed we’d jump in on each other’s gigs,” said Luke. Eventually it just made sense to form their own band. “We’re lucky to have found each other. It’s hard to find people that play well together and that like playing together.”
As Falmouth and Woods Hole natives, the band got their start playing the Landfall restaurant and Quicks Hole Tavern in Woods Hole. They still often play Grumpy’s pub in Falmouth, which Luke describes as their “hometown headquarters.”
They first started playing the Island a few years back, and are enjoying being part of the local music scene here. “Our Island experience was precipitated by our relationship with DCLA and Phil DaRosa. They gave us a co-sign, and we started playing shows with them, like the Chill Billy Revue in 2013, which was a really special night. it made us realize, ‘OK, we’re in the club,’” said Luke.
The band distilled their celebratory summers and harsh winters into their first album, Thanks for the Memories, and their next one, tentatively titled Wildlife, is in the works. In the off-season they’ve been in the studio working on it. They are tracking it now, and preparing for a new music video to come out in May. The video to “Can’t Go Back” was filmed on Cape Cod, New York City, Rhode Island, and Plymouth.
To hear their music, or find out more about the band and upcoming shows, visit facebook.com/crookedcoast or crookedcoast.com.
News from the Lampost
The 21-plus party with Crooked Coast and DJ Black Bluto starts at 10 pm on Friday, April 3, with a $5 cover. Get ready for a host of other special events coming there this summer, including the band the Zoo and a new set of rotating DJs. Co-owner of the Lampost Adam Cummings said, “Our house DJ for the past 11 years has retired, and he was great, but this opens opportunities for new folks.”
“We’re also excited to have a full season with the new porch,” said Adam, about the outdoor patio that was added last year and overlooks Circuit Avenue.
The Lampost plans to host weekly beer tastings starting in mid-April. Their food offerings will be changing too, and their new menu will be available starting Memorial Day, along with a new bar and restaurant downstairs where the Dive Bar used to be.
In the meantime, get down to the Lampost to meet familiar faces, play a game, or grab a drink on the outdoor patio and wish for summer to arrive already.
For now the Lampost will be open 4 pm to 1 am on weekdays and noon to 1 am on the weekends, with hours extending in May. To stay up to date on special events, visit their Facebook page.